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What <1K bass could I tune to low F#?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by De93, May 20, 2011.

  1. De93


    May 10, 2010
    I'm not a bassist, but an 8-string guitarist that needs some bass for a home studio project. I'm looking into getting a 6-string bass to tune F#BEADG, or possibly a half step below that. I was initially looking at the Ibanez SR706, but I'm not sure if 34" scale length is enough to get a good sound, and maybe I should look for at least 35". I'm most likely going to be recrding DI with an MXR M-80 or some sort of POD. What basses are out there with 6/7 strings, 35"+ scale length, and can be purchased new or used (but not rare) for 1000 USD or less? I searched around but it's difficult to thinking of keywords to get 'F# tuning" search results, since there's a character minimum. I read through every relevant thread I could find, but I haven't gotten anywhere.

    I might be hunting for a unicorn here, but you fine folks would know better than I would.

    PS - I'm aware bands such as Meshuggah actually tune UP to F#, but that's not what I'm wanting.
  2. Ibanez BTB? I think they make a 6-string of it and it's 35" scale.
  3. De93


    May 10, 2010
    I checked out the Ibanez website, and there are two BTB series with 6-strings and 35" scale length for 900-100 USD new. The BTB676 and BTB776PB. These might be a much better option than the Soundgear basses. I'm going to look into them some more. Thanks!

    Are there many 36" scale length basses out there? I've seen some mention of them while browsing.
  4. James Judson

    James Judson

    Jul 16, 2009
    I'd be surprised to find a bass tuned down to F#. That low string probably won't make a usable noise. Lots of 5 stringers complain about a low B not being usable. If I wanted that low sub bass in the mix I would go with an octave divider.

    I hope I'm wrong. Let us know if you find/use a bass with a low F# that works.
  5. Bozendoka


    Mar 13, 2011
    A used Dingwall Combustion will give you 37" to work with, they pop up now and again for under a grand.
  6. VS


    Jun 6, 2002
    Mountain City, Tennessee
    Discounted Gear: Peavey
    You could do this pretty easily. I think your biggest issue will be finding a custom string nut. Most F# tuned basses are 7 string. -Luke
  7. Lots of 5 string players? I don't think so.
  8. Screw going low. If the guitarist wants the low end of a bass, get yourself a piccolo bass, and play high notes.
  9. codync


    Jan 3, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    ...Yeah, I use a low G# fairly often and it sounds fine. Below that, I'm not sure, but B? More than usable.
  10. This bass is tuned to E a whole step lower... The low F at the beginning sounds pretty good to me, even on my computer's speakers.

    YouTube - Yves Carbonne - Seven Waves (sample)

    As for the OP's question: you could use pretty much any bass with a sturdy neck, a top-loading bridge, and clean sounding pickups/electronics. A 35" scale would be an advantage but not absolutely necessary. In addition to the aforementioned BTBs I would suggest checking out Peavey Cirrus and Schecter.

    The most important ingredients are a thick string and proper setup. Circle K strings seem to have the widest range of super-thick strings and sets. You will have to get a new nut or widen the slots on the stock one.
  11. Little physics lesson:
    - the lowest audible frequency is around 16Hz
    - a low F# is only a few Hz above that
    - a lot of cabs that are thought of as having exceptional low end, actually cut off more than an OCTAVE above that.
    - it would take mega-wattage to push that out at a loud enough volume to be heard over a drummer, and a wall of subs to handle it.

    So when someone talks bout having a low F#, all they really have is a regular F# (second fret on the E string of a 4-banger), but with interesting-sounding harmonics.

    If you like that sound, that's fine, but let's call it what it really is...
  12. Not a 6 or 7 string, but my MIM Fender P-bass is tuned to low F# using Circle K strings. String gauges are .182, .136, .100, .076. It's 34 inch scale and I had to move the bridge back a little over half an inch so the thickest part of the .182 wouldn't wrap around the tuning peg and break. Stock pickups, stock bridge. Hadn't moved the bridge yet in these pics.




    Running 600 watts from three amps that power 4 15's, 4 12's and an 18. I can hear everything fine. There's more to it than just the second harmonic, but the fundamental is felt in your body more than heard, and it all comes together in your brain. My band is just drums and bass with no guitar or vocals. Using an octave pedal to get a low F# and actually tuning to it on strings that are right for it are nowhere near the same.
  13. jtc_hunter


    Feb 16, 2007
    " Thats badass man!" I use Circle k balanced .150's and tune to Bb on a 34" scale bolt on. They are the best down tuning strings .
  14. De93


    May 10, 2010
    There are plenty of bands going to LOW F# and even E. Anyways, this is a recording project, so the wattage and cabinets necessary aren't an issue.

    The Dingwall Combustion looks interesting, although only 5-string, but that could be overlooked for a quality instrument that can handle the low tuning better than other options.
  15. De93


    May 10, 2010
    I've been doing some browsing through reviews of the Ibanez BTB676 and BTB776PB, and it seems like some people are displeased with the stock pickups (Bartolini MK2-6-R bridge, MK2-6-F neck). I already explained that I'm not a bassist and unknowledgeable about some of the basics, so if I go the BTB route, what pickups should I look into to handle such low tunings?


    Also, between the two BTB series basses, would the BTB676 with it's light ash body and walnut top have a brighter sound than the mahogany body and poplar burl top of the BTB776PB? I imagine it could be beneficial to have a very bright tone for the lower notes, but I'm really not sure.
  16. You could always go the Meshuggah route, using a bass on the same octave of F# but a very different tonality from the guitars to give that deeper low end.
  17. De93


    May 10, 2010
  18. thanks for that youtube link! :hyper:

    not a big fan of extremely downtuning (it just doesn't sound right to me, too floppy... I'd rather hear a synth that low). But this is actually a decent example... and I love love love the playing. Kind of minimalistic, but every note is perfect. Beautiful! Thanks!
  19. De93


    May 10, 2010
    What's the multi-scale length on these? 37" top, but what about the shorter bottom? I couldn't find the information on the Dingwall website for some reason.
  20. tylerwylie


    Jan 5, 2008
    Dunwoody, GA
    I'd say a Spector Legend 6 string will fit the bill, easy to upgrade the EMG's if you want as well. (35")

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